Ventura County Deputy & Canine Partner Recovering After Crash with DUI Motorist

KTLA reports that a Ventura County Sheriff’s Department deputy and his canine partner will both soon be back on the job after they were injured in a crash with an alleged intoxicated driver last week. 

According to the California Highway Patrol,  the crash happened on Thursday, December 16, at approximately 8:40 p.m. on Pacific Coast Highway near Deer Creek Road, between Malibu and Oxnard.

CHP investigating officers said the driver of a white Mercedes was seen traveling at a high rate of speed toward oncoming traffic shortly before crashing head-on with a Ventura County Sheriff’s Department cruiser. 

Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Castaneda made evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision; however, the Mercedes’ front end. The force of the impact sent the SUV with Deputy Castaneda and his canine partner, Danny, flying off the roadway and down a rocky cliff face, where it came to a rest just overlooking the ocean below. 

Firefighters stabilized the sheriff’s cruiser and extricated Deputy Castenada and Danny from the vehicle. Thankfully, Deputy Castenada suffered only minor injuries, while Danny, a Dutch Shepherd, sustained a cut to his face. 

The male driver of the Mercedes, 25-year-old Gerardo Escalante-Soto,  also had to be extricated from the wreckage of his vehicle and was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries. Since Escalante-Soto was already on probation for a previous DUI charge, he was arrested for felony DUI in this latest incident.

In a statement, the VCSD expressed gratitude to everyone who had shown concern for Deputy Castaneda and Danny. “We are happy that the two are now recovering at home and looking forward to getting back to work soon.”

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